Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mini Trip: Kamakura

Seeking to combine some sight-seeing with a bit of hiking, I found a short hiking course in Kamakura, starting at Kita Kamakura Station and ending up near the Daibutsu. We then extended the walk until the sea shore.
The trail starts right next to Jochiji temple, and winds right up into the hills. I thought it would most likely be a very tame hike, but was pleasantly surprised by lots of nice knotty rises and boulders to clamber on. If you want there are smaller trails branching off, that go to other parts of Kamakura as well. The air is wonderfully fragrant and fresh, a very nice change after a couple of weeks in the urbanity that is Tokyo.
Eventually you will get to Genjiyama Park, and Kuzuharaoka Shrine (which specializes in marraige/love, as you can see from the heart-shaped ema). Since this year I forgot to get an omikuji on New Years, I finally got my fortune for the year (5 months late...oh well).
There are lots of extremely friendly kitties around the park, and I found two in particular who were happy to let me pet them (always a plus). Heading out of the park we popped into Zeniarai Benzaiten, which is the famous temple where you wash your money in the sacred spring, in hopes that it will multiply. Needless to say, all our change is now spotlessly clean.
The last bit of the trail was a bit urban, as we passed through a tunnel and residential area to get to the Daibutsu. If you like looking at expensive houses it is a great chance to see some excellent examples of the 'faux-cottage' architecture much beloved by wealthy Japanese home owners.

The Daibutsu is serene as always, calm against the bright blue sky. The Kamakura Buddha is probably my favorite amongst the famous giant Buddha statues, as he seems particularly chill and friendly... although I guess that is the point.

On the way down to the beach we stopped at Hasedera, although the hydrangeas are not yet in bloom, to go into the Benzaiten cave, which is filled with tiny little figures of the goddess. We also found that they had vegetarian dumplings (like nikuman, without the meat) which were really delicious!

To round out the trail we walked past Hase Station (which is truly adorable, with its tiny little tracks and tiny little train), past a very distinctive pink and white torii and down to the sea shore. I can never resist wading in water, and this was no exception. A very nice way to reward my feet for their efforts.

I really recommend this trail, it is not very hard but you still get some nature time, without having to worry about not finding a train to get you home.

1 comment:

  1. I love Kamakura, it's my most favorite place in Japan. Thought I still didn't saw much from Japan so I can't really tell but at least I like Kamakura more than I like Tokyo, thought I love both but the atmosphere in Kamakura is so special and amazing and I could walk along the small streets all day long. Next time I am in Japan I have to go there again! Thanks so much for the pictures I can't wait to be there again on my own and see all this prettyness by myself! *=*